(Representational image) Paramilitary forces take cover during a gunfight with Maoists in Lalgarh.
(Representational image) Paramilitary forces take cover during a gunfight with Maoists in Lalgarh.Reuters

Odisha police gunned down over a dozen Maoists, including women, and arrested one, in a forest in Malkangiri district, on Saturday.

In one of the biggest crackdown, police killed 13 Maoists in a fierce gun battle that lasted for several minutes inside Silakota forest in the Podia block of the district, which separates the borders of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

According to an IANS report, Special Operation Group and District Voluntary Force led by District Superintendent of Police Akhileswar Singh raided the Maoist camping site in the forest. Incessant rains helped the forces confirm the intelligence report about the Maoists who had taken cover under plastic sheets.

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On Friday, about 30 Maoists led by their divisional commander Rakesh had entered the forest and were planning to attack security forces.

"Fourteen Maoists were killed. Arms were also seized," Inspector General of Police Soumendra Priyadarshi told IANS. The divisional commander was among the dead.

Police also recovered an AK-47, 10 country-made guns, a 9 mm pistol and a country-made pistol, two claymore mines and 30 kitbags from the Maoist camp.

According to reports, a team from National Investigation Agency is on the way to probe whether these Maoists had a hand in the 25 May Darbha Ghati attack in Chhattisgarh.

Malkangiri, which is located over 600 km from Bhubaneswar, is considered a stronghold of Maoists. On 9 September, nine Maoists surrendered before the Odisha police in the same district.

Singh said that three of the ones who surrendered were active members of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist, which is a Left-wing Extremism (LWE) group, while the rest were Maoist militia members.

Orissa is among the ones highly affected by LWE. Maoists are active in more than half of the state's 30 districts.